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Your guide to living in South Africa. Visas, citizenship and more.
Why live in South Africa?
An endless coastline, some of the world’s most impressive wildlife and dazzling scenery have lured many people to start a new life at the Southern point of Africa. It is a place where the sun is always shining, which means people live life mostly outdoors. They surf, swim, play sport, barbecue, trek and go on safaris.
Expats from all corners of the world are living a good South African life in one of the large cosmopolitan cities or in the beautiful smaller towns scattered through the country. South Africa is home to people from many different nationalities so blending in won’t be a challenge.
South Africa has a collective culture with a large group focus, which can also be seen in work environments. Stable, personal relationships are valued and meetings tend to be informal, but make sure to be on time.
The South African economy is slowly growing and consumption and investment are on the rise. Working and living in SA could be one of the most enriching experiences in your life and with some sectors dealing with a shortage of skilled workers, now might be just the right time.
- If one of your grandparents was born in South Africa or is a South African citizen or permanent resident, you may be eligible for temporary residency and following that once you have lived in South Africa you can apply for permanent residency.
- If your child is a citizen or permanent resident of this country, you may apply for a parent residency visa.
- If your spouse is a citizen or permanent resident of South Africa, you are probably eligible for residency. Please note that your status of spouse needs to be legally recognised in this country.
- See the citizenship section below for more information on residency or citizenship based on descent.
Working Holiday Visa
Canadian citizens can work in South Africa for 12 months through the SWAP program
Short Term Tourist Visas
Visas requirements are different depending on which passport you carry. To find out if you need a tourist visa to visit South Africa, please use the VisaHQ tool ->>
South African Citizenship
- If you were born in South Africa, you are most likely a South African citizen.
- If one or both of your parents were citizens when you were born, you are probably also a citizen.
- If your spouse is a citizen or permanent resident of South Africa, you are probably eligible for residency. If your spouse is a citizen, you can apply for citizenship after living together in South Africa for a period of 2 years. Please note that your status of spouse needs to be legally recognised in this country.
South African Residency by Investment
You can apply for Business Visa if you invest at least R5 000 000 in an existing business or establish a new business using this amount of capital. It also needs to be your intention to work in the business. In addition you need to meet other requirements such as a recommendation from the Department of Trade and Industry approving the business as a viable business that will benefit the South African economy. At least 60% of the employees need to be South African citizens.
You can see further information on the South African Business visa here.
Click here to view information on other Investment Visas around the world.
If you are an Expat in South Africa and would like to share your story with us, please contact us.
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